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Recap / Justice League S 2 E 21 And 22 Wild Cards

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The Joker reveals on television that he's planted several bombs in Las Vegas. The Justice League have to try and stop him while his superpowered minions, the Royal Flush Gang, stall them. After all the bombs are disabled, the Joker reveals his true plan: to use one of the Royal Flush Gang's members' telepathic powers to make everyone watching insane. However, Batman finds the Joker and gets the last member of the Royal Flush Gang to use her powers on him before she leaves the scene. The episode ends with Hawkgirl and Green Lantern finally getting together.

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Tropes:

  • Batman Gambit: Batman pulls off two:
    • He makes Harley jealous of the attention Joker is paying to Ace, which makes her stomp all the way back to his studio hideout. Batman probably wasn't expecting that punch, though.
      Joker: You led Batman right to my doorstep!
    • Under Ace's hypnotism and getting beat up by the Joker, Batman manages to reveal that Joker is carrying the headband Ace's "handlers" had used to depower her. She is not pleased.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lampshaded by the Joker, of course.
    "Whew! Is it just me, or is there something going on between those two?"
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Shayera and John at the end.
  • Book-Ends: Not the episode itself, but rather for the Joker. His first appearance in the DCAU (The Batman: TAS episode “Christmas with the Joker”) featured him hijacking a Gotham City news station. This episode marks his last appearance in the DCAU (in terms of production) and featured him hijacking several television channels.
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  • Brick Joke: The old woman Joker pesters at the beginning of the episode appears again when Shayera and John kiss at the end.
  • Cliffhanger: Was Green Lantern killed in that fiery explosion? Tune in next week!
  • Comically Missing the Point: The old woman Joker talks to fails to realize that when he asks if she's scared, he's referring to the bombs.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Whether Joker actually believes he's immune to Ace's power or not is debatable, but he had the foresight to keep the protective headband on him just in case he wasn't. Fortunately for him, it turns out to be the right move. Not so fortunately for him, Batman turns this on him by taking the headband away in plain view of Ace, leaving Joker unprotected and the new target of her wrath.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: When no one laughs at his volcano joke, the Joker rather hypocritically violates this, though he doesn't look too happy about it.
    Joker: "Getting warm", I said! (mooks stare at him) ...He's next to a volcano!
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  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Subverted. Rather than invade the airwaves as usual, Joker buys airtime on multiple channels under an alias, and other networks pick up his broadcast because he's got the best footage.
  • Droste Image: As the Joker rattles off his ratings and reveals his true plan, he is standing in front of a broadcast monitor which creates this effect.
  • Evil Laugh: Averted. Throughout the entirety of the two episodes, though the Joker retains his puns and Faux Affably Evil demeanor, his trademark laugh is surprisingly absent.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: Batman manages to successfully guide Flash through disarming a bomb while fighting Jack, only pausing when he gets hit. At no point does he imply that Flash called at a bad time, and continues giving directions even after Flash offers to help him first.
  • Foreshadowing: Quoth the Joker, concerning his 'show': "Ooh! Medical drama, life and death stakes, compelling human conflict... RATINGS!" As it turns out, drawing in viewers is key to the Joker's real plot.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: When the Joker's true plot is revealed, the screen fades to black as Ace continues to stare at you.
  • Funny Background Event: As Joker talks about Ace's powers, a rat person carrying a cup of coffee walks across the stage in the background, indicating the effect Ace is having on the viewers.
  • Genre Blindness:
    • After all these years, Harley didn't expect Batman to follow her back to the Joker's hideout. Joker even calls her on this.
    • He also calls out Green Lantern for not suspecting a trap while he's defusing a bomb. "See what happens when you don't watch enough television?"
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Joker is driven insane(r) when Ace turns on him after discovering that he had the band the institution used to disable her, reducing him to a drooling vegetable after he had planned to do the same thing to millions of his viewers.
  • Ho Yay: Joker frames the Justice League arriving on-scene like movie stars strutting down the red carpet. While he regards the JL as "fashion disasters", Batman's sense of style gets his hearty approval.
  • Hypnotic Eyes
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: The Joker's show is picked up by news broadcasters eager to cover the superpowered battle and possible destruction of the Vegas Strip. This is all part of the plan to maximize the number of viewers exposed to Ace's power.
  • Immunity Attrition: Joker apparently has enough of an Insanity Immunity that Ace's stare doesn't affect him by accident, but when she deliberately focuses on him, he's comatose in seconds.
  • Innocent Innuendo: The episode opens with a shot of the Watchtower, and we hear this exchange between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl:
    Shayera: Uh-huh... that's it... right there.
    John: No, it's not.
    Shayera: I think I would know.
    John: Really?
    • Then we see they're really looking for financial records.
  • Insanity Immunity: The Joker announces that he has this in regards to Ace's powers. He's either lying or at least partially wrong.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: The Joker gets bored and cuts away just as Hawkgirl is about to confess something to Green Lantern. Clearly he doesn't think romance has the ratings appeal of violence.
  • Ironic Echo: Ace after the control band is switched off, to the Joker. As a prelude to deciding of her own accord to do to him what he was trying to force her to do to the people watching.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Batman has to advise Flash how to defuse a bomb while in the midst of fighting Jack.
  • Lame Comeback
    Joker: Even you can't disarm one of my bombs in time.
    Flash: Shut up!
    Joker: What kind of a retort is THAT? You're not even trying.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Since the Joker is airing a television special, most of the time it looks like he's talking right to the audience, including an ever-present countdown timer in the bottom-left corner.
  • Magic Countdown: Downplayed. At the cliffhanger when Green Lantern is caught in an explosion, the on-screen timer reads 7:00. At the start of the second part, as Hawkgirl is trying to dig GL out, the timer has jumped back up to 7:06.
  • Male Gaze: The cameraman conspicuously scopes out Queen when she first appears.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Batman tricks Harley Quinn into leading him back to the Joker by implying the Joker is in a relationship with Ace, who is only an adolescent.
  • Mood Whiplash: Joker turns on the charm to appease a jealous Harley and then backhands her for not realizing that Batman surely followed her.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the casinos is called the Amos Fortune, who was an old time-y Justice League villain and the leader of the original version of the Royal Flush Gang.
    • The episode's name and general premise (Joker commandeering the Royal Flush Gang) may be a Shout-Out to the Joker's first - and only - appearance on Super Friends. Just to hammer it home, that episode was cowritten by DCAU producer Alan Burnett.
  • The Nicknamer: The Joker shows his contempt for Stupidman and Batguano.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When Batman is having his mind scrambled by Ace, Joker unleashes a brutal one on him, complete with an evil version of "London Bridge is Falling Down"
    The Joker: Big old bats is tumbling down/on the ground/mind unsound/Big old bats is tumbling down/I'm so happy.
  • Pass the Popcorn: The Joker of course.
  • Race Against the Clock: The Joker threatens to explode a bomb (later revealed to be 25 bombs) in 22 minutes, fifty-one seconds. "Oh what where you expecting from me? A round number?"
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The minute that Superman points out that everyone will be killed should a bomb go off, King runs for it.
  • Shipper on Deck: Played with. First, the Joker points out that Hawkgirl and Lantern obviously have a thing for each other. Then he subverts it: "Will true love conquer all? Not on my show!" (hits Big Red Button to set off bomb) Then, at the end, when they kiss, the old woman from earlier comments that "It's about time!"
  • Shout-Out
    • Each member of the Royal Flush Gang is voiced by the same voice actors best known for voicing the Teen Titans.
    • The plan used broadcast time purchased under the alias "Gwynplaine Entertainment", named for the protagonist of The Man Who Laughs (whose permanent rictus grin provided the visual inspiration for the Joker).
    • A psychotic clown using a mind-control head-piece to weaponize a teenage girl with mystical powers? Where have we seen that before?
  • Show Within a Show: Basically, it's the episode's Framing Device.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The Joker's most dangerous weapon is the telepath Ace. How else would you call it but he's got an ace up his sleeve.
    • When Green Lantern and Hawkgirl do The Big Damn Kiss at the end (and perhaps a lot more), you hear the old woman in Vegas exclaims "Well, it's about time!" and it cuts to her finally hitting the jackpot. Which either GL or Hawkgirl could be said to have done in their Relationship Upgrade.
  • Stunned Silence: On seeing a rerun of how Flash used his Super Speed for Relocating the Explosion, the Joker for once can only say, "Huh..."
  • Title Drop: The Joker does this, referring to the Royal Flush Gang as such. It's both used to illustrate the playing card trademarks that they use for identities and the way they enter the scene unexpectedly, providing a chaotic distraction for the League to deal with throughout the two-parter. Ace also proves to be the Wild Card, turning against the Joker in the end.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Joker is left catatonic by Ace at the end of the episode, but he obviously got better eventually. This is in-keeping with many previous appearances, however.
  • Villains Never Lie: When the Joker says the bomb can't be moved because it has motion sensors, Flash asks why he should believe him? Joker just tells him to call his bluff.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: Joker's response to the Snowy Screen of Death when Harley's helicopter crashes.
  • Wham Episode: Thanks to the Relationship Upgrade for John and Hawkgirl, and Dramatic Unmask for Hawkgirl.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Not nearly as bad as the one in "Mad Love", but still shocking:
    Joker: And there's one other thing you're not getting.
    Harley: What?
    Joker: That you led Batman right to my doorstep! (smack) Tough love. Very effective. Don't you think so, Batman?
  • Wire Dilemma: Flash has to disarm a bomb with the Joker yammering away at him.
    Joker: NOT THE BLUE ONE! YOU'LL BLOW US ALL TO SMITHEREENS! (Flash hesitates) Seriously, you were right. Cut the black one — I mean the red one! No, blue! That's it: black-and-yellow-striped one NO WAIT! Green... (Flash runs out of time/patience and tries Relocating the Explosion instead)''
  • Wrong Wire: Batman cuts the wrong wire, the detonator speeds up until the bomb explodes. Fortunately it's a fake. Batman appears to learn from this however, as he gives the Flash the correct sequence later.
  • You Meddling Kids: Joker, of course, includes an adorable shout-out. "And they would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for me meddling with the kids!"
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